We are very pleased to have the firm of Miller Thomson LLP joining us on February 5th, 2015 at the CRIFPT (Craig Richardson Institute of Food Processing) at Conestoga College, Cambridge for a very special session on "Legislative Issues in the Food and Beverage Industry". The Team at Miller Thomson has a wealth of information to share and we are delighted to pass along an article written by Catherine Bate, Partner, on "WTO Rules Against U.S. Regarding Country of Origin Labelling". Our special thanks to the Team at Miller Thomson for sharing this with us!
WTO Rules Against U.S. Regarding Country of Origin Labelling
On October 20, 2014, the World Trade Organization ("WTO") ruled for the third time that the United States' country-of-labelling rules ("COOL") contravenes trade laws by discriminating against beef and pork exports from Canada and Mexico.
The U.S. COOL rules, which first went into effect in 2008 and were amended most recently in 2013, require suppliers to inform consumers at the retail level as to the country of origin of certain commodities, including beef and pork. Specifically, the most recent iteration of COOL requires that all imported packaged beef and pork identify where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. This identification is costly and administratively burdensome, incentivizing suppliers to source exclusively domestic livestock from the United States, and thereby treating Canadian and Mexican livestock less favourably than the domestic, American commodities.
The WTO's Appellate Body upheld a previous 2011 Panel Report that this unfavourable treatment of imported livestock is inconsistent with trade laws. The decision has been greeted favourably by members of the Canadian agricultural community, alongside both provincial and federal government officials. The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food, and the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, said in an official statement: "Today's WTO compliance panel's report re-affirms Canada's long-standing view that the revised U.S. COOL measure is blatantly protectionist and fails to comply with the WTO's original ruling against it. The WTO's clear and consistent findings in support of Canada's position effectively supply a clear message to the U.S.: End this protectionist policy that creates economic harm on both sides of the border and comply with your international trade obligations."
Despite the fact that this is the third ruling the WTO has made against the United States' meat-labelling laws in five years, the U.S. is appealing this most recent decision. Minister Ritz has said that Canada may impose regulatory tariffs on some U.S. goods, such as cheese, apples, corn, chocolate, pasta, frozen orange juice, wine, spirits or others, as early next year, if Washington does not comply with the WTO ruling.
Reprinted with permission by author Catherine Bate, Partner (Article Originally Published: December 10th, 2014)
This article was originally published on Miller Thomson LLP's blog, The Food Web: Canadian Agribusiness and Food Law (www.millerthomson.com/en/blog) and it contains a discussion relating to the law to be used for educational and non-commercial purposes only; the author(s) of the blog do not intend the blog to be a source of legal advice. Please retain and seek the advice of a lawyer and use your own good judgement before choosing to act on any information included in the blog. If you choose to rely on the materials, you do so entirely at your own risk.
Hope you enjoyed the article above - and thanks again to the Miller Thomson Team!
As per our message above, we would be delighted to have your participation at our special networking event on Legislative Issues in the Food and Beverage Industry scheduled for February 5th, 2015 at the CRIFPT. If you would like to join us, please RSVP to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
All the best!
Bren de Leeuw, Director - EMC Food, Beverage & Bio Sector Program
Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium (EMC) - email@example.com - 519-372-6009
EMC receives funding under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. However, the comments or opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Canada or the Province of Ontario.